Cycling: Teams pull out of Strade Bianche due to coronavirus

Cycling: Teams pull out of Strade Bianche due to coronavirus

Cycling: Teams pull out of Strade Bianche due to coronavirusCycling: Teams pull out of Strade Bianche due to coronavirus

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Dutch team Lotto Jumbo Visma and Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott have pulled put of Saturday’s Strade Bianche, one of several cycling races in Italy under threat because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Team Jumbo-Visma will not participate in Strade Bianche and GP Industria this weekend,” the team said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The decision has been taken on medical advice, the recommendation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as on practical grounds.

“It’s likely that the same decision will apply to other Italian races in March. However, we are also awaiting messages from the Italian government.”

Strade Bianche is, along with Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, one of three major Italian races in March and Mauro Vegni, the head of organiser RCS, said they could all be canceled.

“Undoubtedly the news emerging from the coronavirus is clear: the indications from the Italian scientific committee leave little space room for manoeuvre and if they are to be adopted by the government we would be forced to cancel those three events,” Vegni was quoted as saying by cycling website Tuttobiciweb.

Italy has been the European country worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with at least 79 deaths and more than 2,500 cases.

“Together with the management of our team, I am constantly considering and acting in the interest of the health and working conditions of our riders and staff members. That includes, for example, preventing them from quarantine abroad,” Lotto Jumbo Visma team general manager Richard Plugge said.

“We have to look at the broader picture and take responsibility for the health of riders, staff and fans.”

Mitchelton-Scott confirmed they have pulled out of seven other races scheduled until March 22 as a precautionary measure in response to the outbreak.

Their men’s team will be absent from GP Industria, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, while the women’s team will miss Ronde van Drenthe, Danilith Nokere Koerse and the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

The Australian team added it had notified sport’s governing body UCI of its decision to withdraw and that it would monitor the situation before deciding on its participation in events after March 22.

Elsewhere, several cycling teams confined to a luxury Abu Dhabi hotel have been instructed by the state’s health authorities to remain in quarantine until March 14 due to coronavirus concerns.

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